St Finbarr’s easily accounted for Carrigtwohill on Saturday evening in a resplendent Riverstown with a magnificent performance in the first round of the Cork SHC.
The Barr's night’s work was bordering on flawless. They had thirteen scores in each half, all of their forwards found the target and their defence didn’t concede a single score from open play.
Eoghan Finn was Carrigtwohill’s tormentor in chief, accounting for 11 of the Barr's points, four from play, and being a general menace with his power, pace and precision. He’d willing and able comrades in Conor Cahalane, who hit 1-4, and the eternal threat that is Robert O’Mahony, who pilfered three first-half points.
With so much going right, Ronan Curran was simply happy with his charges' general approach to the game.
It was the way that we just played the game. We’ve worked on a lot of things from last year, and to be fair to the lads they stuck to the plan.
“Things weren’t going great in the first ten minutes. We were lethargic, going backwards, but the goal opened things up, but I suppose the brand of hurling was pleasing.
"It was great to see Eoghan make it through the game doing so well as he’s been riddled with injuries for a few years and everyone got through the game fairly well.”
Which brings us to Carrigtwohill. They would have been happy with that first ten minutes that Curran alluded to as points from Pádraic Hogan, Liam Gosnell and Jay Horgan cancelled out efforts from Shane Hurley and two from O’Mahony to leave matters tied at three each.
But the signs were ominous for the east Cork side as ‘keeper Shane Devlin had already saved brilliantly from Damien and Conor Cahalane.
And when Colm Keane finally found a way past Devlin after 15 minutes, the floodgates opened as the city side outscored their east Cork rivals by 1-8 to 0-1 in the second quarter.
Finn slotted over three points, the rampaging Conor Cahalane plundered 1-2, Robbie O’Mahony and Billy Hennessey had a point apiece with only Gosnell responding for Carrig before the half ended as it started, with a long-range free from Barrs’ ‘keeper Shane Hurley to make it 2-11 to 0-4 at the break.
Carrig had a glimmer of redemption on the resumption when Brendan McCarthy was fouled for a penalty. Alas for them, however, when ‘keepers Devlin and Hurley faced off the Barr's man saved brilliantly, and that was really that.
The game continued, but the contest was over as Finn added eight to his tally, Conor Cahalane helped himself to two more points, Colm Keane goaled again while Philip Kelleher and Bill O’Connell also got in on the act.
Liam Gosnell was Carrig’s sole scorer in the second period and the east Cork side would have been left numbed by how things panned out.
Their league form had been encouraging, albeit in Division 2, and in the likes of Gosnell, Aaron Walsh Barry and the Hogan brothers they’ve the nucleus of a decent side.
But it will be hard to pick themselves up from this chastening experience and for once, the long break from April to August might not be a bad thing.
As for the Barr's, the thing that stood out the most was their pace, and an experienced campaigner like Curran knows it’s all about playing to your advantages.
“In any team you try and use what you have.
"We have a bit of pace in the team, that’s one thing that a few of the lads are blessed with so we trey and get them on the ball as much as we can and create as much as much space as we can.
"Sometimes that doesn’t work, sometimes it does. Tonight it did.”
As for round four? They’ll have to wait, and wait, and see.
E Finn 0-11 (0-6 frees, 0-1 ‘65), C Cahalane 1-4, C Keane 2-0, R O’Mahony 0-3, S Hurley 0-2 (frees), P Kelleher, B O’Connell and B Hennessey 0-1 each.
L Gosnell 0-6 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65), P Hogan (free) and J Horgan 0-1 each.
S Hurley, O Murphy, J Burns, A McCarthy, G O’Connor, E Keane, C Walsh, B Hennessy, D Cahalane, C Cahalane, C Keane, E Finn, B O’Connell, R O’Mahony, P Kelleher. Subs: B Beckett for O’Mahony (43 mins), R O’Mahony for Beckett (52 mins, inj.)
S Devlin, P O’Sullivan, P Hogan, B Cashman, C O’Mahony, C O’Connell, A Walsh Barry,J Horgan, B Twomey, S Roche, T Hogan, J McCarthy, D Crotty, S Rohan, L Gosnell. Subs: B McCarthy for Crotty (18 mins), E O’Mahony for Cashman (22 mins), B Cashman for O’Sullivan (48 mins, inj).
Nathan Wall (Ballincollig)